Prime Minister plea from nightlife bosses

“Boris must start trusting hospitality sector,” Birmingham business leaders demand.

Business leaders in Birmingham have issued an urgent plea to the government to trust the hospitality sector to act responsibly on COVID-19 safety measures.

The calls come following the new tier two restrictions imposed on Birmingham this week, banning city residents from mixing with other households in any indoor setting, including pubs and restaurants.

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside Business Improvement District, said: “Boris Johnson and his ministers must learn to trust the hospitality sector which is acting so responsibly to protect staff and customers.

“They can start by consulting with the sector on closing times which we feel should be staggered to make sure not too many people are exiting venues at the same time.

“For instance, restaurants could be allowed to close at 10.30pm, then small pubs at 11.30pm and larger venues at 12.30am, with no entry after 10.30pm.

“This sort of timing would greatly help our street wardens and the police to better control what will otherwise be crowds of people on the pavements.

“There could also be tolerance of 30 minutes introduced on closure times in agreement with local police and council licensing to allow staggered departures from each venue, rather than everyone piling out at the same time.”

Looking to the future, Mr Olley added: “Most importantly, the government must give the hospitality sector clear guidelines on how they intend to take Birmingham and other areas out of this crisis.

“For instance, they should be setting clear data targets based on the numbers of people infected per 100,000 so that everyone understands where we are now and what the figures need to be to move down into tier one.”

Matthew Symes (front pic), general manager of Popworld and chair of the local Pubwatch, said: “The issue is that the government are doing this without any real justification, scientific evidence or consultation.

“We strongly feel they should be working with the hospitality sector which has developed the highest health and safety standards threshold of any industry in returning to work since the pandemic struck.”